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Photo of ‘Boet Erasmus Stadium’ old, not from 2020

Has a sports stadium in South Africa been looted and fallen into complete disrepair? That’s the claim in a Facebook post shared over 850 times and viewed over 70,000 times since it was first posted on 18 May 2020. 

The post shares a photo of an abandoned concrete grandstand, overrun with weeds and bushes. The Facebook user has captioned this in Afrikaans: “So lyk Boet Erasmus Stadion, Port Elizabeth vandag. Gaan Nuweland Stadion dieselfde paadjie loop? Niks meer om weg te dra nie.”

Translated into English this means: “This is what Boet Erasmus stadium, Port Elizabeth, looks like today. Will Newlands Stadium go down the same path? Nothing left to take away.”

Are these claims accurate? We took a quick dip in South African rugby stadium history to find out.

Stadium fell into disrepair – but no longer stands

Boet Erasmus Stadium was a rugby stadium in the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province. It was the home of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, and most famous for “the battle of Boet Erasmus”, a match during the 1995 rugby world cup where South Africa beat Canada 20-0.  

It was renamed Telkom Park in 1997 and the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union Stadium six years later. 

But the Eastern Province Rugby Union left the stadium for the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, built ahead of the 2010 football world cup. The Eastern Province Elephants have played all their home games at the new stadium since 2010. (The team was known as the Eastern Province Kings from 2010 to 2017.)

The old complex was closed in 2010 and fell into disrepair. It was demolished in 2018, to make space for new development, according to the city authorities. The photo shared on Facebook is not from “today”. 

Rumours Newlands stadium to be demolished too

The historic Newlands Rugby Stadium is in Cape Town, in the Western Cape province. It is the oldest rugby stadium in South Africa and the second-oldest in the world. 

It was reported in 2019 that Newlands Rugby Stadium will be demolished in 2021. According to these and newer reports, the Western Province Rugby Union will then move to Cape Town Stadium, also built ahead of the 2010 football world cup. 

Fears that Newlands Rugby Stadium could go the same way as “Boet Erasmus Stadium” may be well-founded. But the Port Elizabeth stadium has already been demolished and the photo shared on Facebook is from 2018, if not earlier. – Africa Check


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